He got a new set of eyes at the start of this new year. At his annual physical, he inched his toes as close as he could to the tape on the floor but he could only see a few rows down the E chart. Letters he had no problem seeing just twelve months earlier.
It's astonishing how quickly we can lose our vision.
I talked about losing mine during a dark season in the middle of last year. There was a few major contributors and a million little ones but the most frustrating component was my complete inability to flip a switch to a new perspective. I looked for the lovely gifts of life and was grateful. I counted my blessings and they were numerous. I underlined verses and pinned inspirational sayings. I did my to-dos and went beyond to do good deeds for others. And yet I could not perceive what I clearly saw before me...that life was beautiful.
The last straw to all the heaviness I carried was learning I was carrying a seed of life sprung alive inside of me. I felt the literal weight of life growing inside and with each pound I gained in small increments, I seemed to gain a dozen in fear and sorrow.
The exact day the veil began to slowly roll away I'm not sure. But I remember when I stepped one morning on the scale to register the growth gained inside. There were numbers to be sure but the digital screen seeemed to read only HOPE and JOY to me. For the first time in months, I was excited about the future and this burgeoning belly seemed a remarkable thing of beauty. I reached for my big camera, the one through which I had discovered a passion for freezing forever beauty in a moment and the one I had had no reason to pick up in some time. This pregnancy, like so many of life's circumstances, was a gift, one to be treasured and unwrapped through each experience it would offer.
Slowly I began lifting the lens to my eye a little more frequently. I discovered beauty hiding in the commonplace details of life. Heart shaped potatoes under cover of cupboard corners. The eerie wonder of fog quietly taking residence over frozen fields. Black and white worlds of snow and bare branches breaking into to full technicolor with just a wink from the sun. Marks of love stretching over pale skin as little wobbles began to disrupt the calm landscape of a swollen belly.
There was beauty but it was mixed in the shadows, dancing mischieviously between the ugly and the ordinary, turning barreness into life.
It took two new lenses to help him see his world aright. It took only one for me to reawaken the truth that life is beautiful: a fixed lens with the ability to focus singularly on what is precious while making the rest fade into the background like a lesser subject in my life's personal narrative.